By Jacqueline Zegler

There are three types of people in this world: those who went through an emo phase and left it in their past, those who never donned the eyeliner, tour shirts and studded belts, and those who are struggling to let go of the music from the best part of their youth. Luckily for the third group, there is Emo Night, a late-night dance party that travels the country playing the best emo and pop-punk songs from the early 2000s.

While the audience was filtering into Union Stage March 10, songs from the musicals “Frozen” and “Hamilton” were playing, which set an odd tone seeing as the crowd was mostly adults who were there for less cheery and playful songs. But once the lights went down and the haunting intro to “Helena (So Long and Goodnight)” by My Chemical Romance began, it was definitely no longer time to build a snowman. It was time to rock.

Singing along to “Grand Theft Autumn (Where Is Your Boy)” by Fall out Boy and “Weightless” by All Time Low brings a certain level of nostalgia for a time when jobs and midterm exams  didn’t exist, when presidents weren’t former reality stars and when the world ending just meant there was a hole in your Vans. Emo Night succeeds in bringing that mindset to audiences. For a few hours in the middle of the night, nothing mattered but figuring out who was breaking Adam Lazzara’s heart in “Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut from the Team)”.  

“Emo night was a nostalgic experience for me,” said Taylor Gallihue, a freshman sociology major at this university. “It was exciting and overwhelming, and I got to experience the atmosphere of a punk-rock concert of the bands I obsessed about in middle school with a room full of people that loved the music just as much.”

The playlist for the night was a brilliant mix of classic pop-punk hits ranging from Blink-182 to Mayday Parade with newer songs sprinkled in, such as “Hard Times” by Paramore and “Alone Together” by Fall Out Boy.

Noticeably absent from the lineup, however, was any music by Brand New. The band, which once defined what it meant to be “emo,” has fallen from grace following sexual misconduct allegations against lead singer Jesse Lacey.  

During a break between sets, while people drifted to the bar and bathroom, a Djent-metal remix of “Bodak Yellow” by Cardi B played in the background. It was the perfect way to bridge the gap between the radio hits of today and yesterday. And when it was time to slow it down, the DJ asked the crowd to form “a circle of friendship” around the floor and sway to “The Only Exception” by Paramore. It felt creepy at first, but it was a bonding experience. It’s oddly comforting to put your arm around someone else’s sweaty shoulder and know they’re thinking of their own “only exception” from when the song was first released.

The night ended just as it began with a signature song by heroes of emo music: My Chemical Romance’s “Welcome to the Black Parade.” With the defiant lyrics that gave a voice to a generation stuck in the audience’s heads while they were calling Ubers and wandering to their cars, another Emo Night came to a close. The beauty of the event is that it is a monthly occurrence, and it will be back in the area in a matter of weeks.

It is hard to shake the feeling of singing angsty, emotion-riddled songs, which hold so much meaning for the defining years of so many people, with hundreds of strangers. And while grasping at the coattails of youth may seem unhealthy to most people, it’s celebrated at Emo Night.

Featured Photo Credit: A packed Union Stage celebrated the music of their youth with Emo Night Brooklyn. (Jacqueline Zegler/Bloc Reporter)

Jacqueline Zegler is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at jzegler@terpmail.umd.edu.

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